Festive Windows

It’s not that easy to find festive window displays in downtown Toronto during this year’s Christmas season. One go-to is the Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street West, which features a few windows sponsored by the American toy brand FAO Schwarz. This is the first appearance of FAO Schwarz in Canada, as it has opened up pop-up spaces in Hudson’s Bay stores across Canada. Their windows are elaborate displays, but both the displays and the pop-ups are not expected to stay for long.

The city skyline window is a conglomeration of Toronto facades – some more recognizable than others – plus some vintage streetcars circling on a track. Maybe some long-term residents of Toronto are able to identify all of the buildings.

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FAO Schwarz – city skyline

The second window is a classic display of large-scale toys – a great place for window watchers young and old.

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FAO Schwarz – toy display

A second type of festive display is located in the windows of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Front Street. There are a number of panels, each one created by a local artist as his/her interpretation of the holiday season. This display is rooted in celebration, diversity and community, and reflects the multiculturalism of Toronto. Each piece is being auctioned by public bid, with the proceeds to be donated to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank.

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‘Une Connection’ by Gabrielle Lasporte
northern lights
‘Northern Light’ by Patrick Hunter
good tidings
‘Good Tidings’ by Vivian Rosas
chinese lion
‘Chinese Lion, Burning Bright’ by Dylan Glynn

Door Potpourri

The word “potpourri” originated in the French language, and can be literally translated into English as “putrid pot.” It was used to describe a Spanish stew of various meats. [Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary.]

More recently, this word has two common meanings. One refers to a mixture of flowers, herbs and spices, usually kept in a bowl or a jar, to create a pleasant scent. The other use of potpourri is to describe a miscellaneous collection or medley of things.

Norm Frampton has suggested that regular contributors to his Thursday Doors blog should consider posting a year-end recap of door discoveries over the past year, in celebration of the end of the year. As my final door post for 2018, I have chosen to feature a potpourri of forgotten doors from around the world that didn’t make it into a previous post. You could also refer to these as my “B-side” doors. For other year-end door contributions, be sure to check out Norm’s Thursday Doors blog for December 20, 2018.

My first door has an A-side and a B-side. The A-side has the address of 10 Adelaide Street East, Toronto (“A” is for Adelaide in this example). This building was opened in 1909 as the headquarters for a financial institution. The doors and the facade reflect the prosperity of the times in Toronto over 100 years ago. Like many cities, Toronto had its big downtown fire in 1904, and this new building was designed to meet stricter fireproofing standards. [Source: Ontario Heritage Trust website.]

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Ontario Heritage Centre – A-side

This building is now home to the Ontario Heritage Trust, which has the mandate to identify, protect, promote and conserve Ontario’s heritage in all of its forms. The OHT is trying to preserve Ontario’s Anglophone and Francophone heritage – a mandate that seems to have been half forgotten by Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government.

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Ontario Heritage Centre – B-side

My B-side image was taken from the interior of the Ontario Heritage Centre when it was open to the public during Open Doors Toronto in May 2017. For more of my images from Open Doors Toronto 2017, you can use the following links:

Doors Open Toronto – Part 1

Doors Open Toronto – Part 2

Doors Open Toronto – Part 3

The next four images could have been included in a Doors of the UK series, but I could not find a theme for grouping these with any other doors.

Following these are two more door images that could have been included in my collection of Doors of Southern France. I love these doorways for the elaborate stone work and carvings that surround the doors.

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One French door
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Two French doors

My original French doors attracted a lot of interest from readers and have received more likes than any of my other blog posts. Here are the links:

Doors of southern France – Part 1

Doors of southern France – Part 2

My final door image for 2018 is a blue Police Box. This style of police box was used in the UK during much of the 20th Century. The box (usually blue) contains a public phone, but the phone is not inside the box, like you would expect to find in a phone booth. The phone is actually located behind the hinged door on the door on the left. Fans of the UK TV program Dr. Who may recognize this as the TARDIS – which is Dr. Who’s time machine. [Source: Wikipedia – Police box.] This police box is actually located in a small town in Australia. This must be Dr. Who’s actual time machine – how else would you explain its relocation 1000’s of miles to the southern hemisphere?

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Blue Police Box – AKA the TARDIS

Doors of the UK – Durham Part 1

The medieval city centre of Durham has enough interesting doors to warrant its own series of door images.

Durham Cathedral is situated in the heart of the City of Durham, and it is a pilgrimage destination for thousands of visitors to north-east England, many who come to visit the shrine of St. Cuthbert. The cathedral started construction in 1093, during the early years of the Norman conquest. The Bishops of Durham were known as prince-bishops, which meant that they had civil authorities in addition to their ecclesiastical role. This included the right to levy taxes and duties, administer their own laws, and raise their own armies. There was no division of authority between the church and the state in this region until Henry VIII became king and diminished the power of the bishops.

Durham Cathedral was built in the Romanesque style and still retains many of these features. These architectural features include the use of semi-circular arches and chevron decoration of the stonework, both of which can be seen in these first two images. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside the cathedral, so you will have to make a personal visit to see what lies behind these grand doors.

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Durham Cathedral side entrance
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Durham Cathedral main entrance

The cathedral and much of the surrounding area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. This includes Durham Castle and Durham University. Theological teaching began in Durham during the reign of Henry VIII, and the University of Durham was officially recognized as a university in 1832 – the third oldest in England after Oxford and Cambridge.

There are several doors that face onto the Palace green, located between the cathedral and the castle, some of which are shown in the following images. These are my contributions to this week’s Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. See the links on Norm’s blog site for other door contributors.

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Durham University Library
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elevenses outside the library
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the bishop’s library
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mystery door

Doors of the UK – the NYMR

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs across the North Yorkshire Moors between Pickering and Whitby and it is a very popular tourist attraction in North Yorkshire. The railway is a great place to visit for all (former and present) model railway enthusiasts who wish to experience a full-scale version of old train locomotives, carriages and stations.

This railway is owned and operated by the North York Moors Historical Railway Trust, which is a not-for-profit charitable organisation. Daily operation is carried out by a team of paid staff alongside many volunteers with railway operations and business experience. The railway trust marked its 50th anniversary of operations in 2017, while the railway line has actually been in operation since 1836. It is the largest preserved heritage railway in the UK in terms of route mileage operated and passenger numbers.

The NYMR owns and operates the railway line from Pickering to Grosmont, and extends its train services from Grosmont to Whitby on the east coast over the Network Rail line. Many varieties of rolling stock are used on the line, including steam and diesel locomotives, and vintage carriages. The NYMR own and restore much of the stock, in partnership with the LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) Coach Association, which provides an umbrella organization for privately and corporately owned vehicles that are used on the NYMR. Imagine owning, restoring and operating your own full-scale railway carriage or engine!

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engineer on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Some images of a few doors shot during a recent visit to the NYMR are included in this post as my contribution to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors blog for this week. The first two green doors are from similar carriages in various states of repair. The train guard – also known as the conductor or train manager – is responsible for the safety of the train.

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green guard door 1
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green guard door 2

This brown carriage door is from one of the restored heritage teak carriages, originally built in 1935.

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teak carriage door

This second pair of green doors is attached to a small building located on the station platform in Pickering. Both doors are signed “private” – one door is an electrical room – but I don’t know the purpose of the other. The purpose for the red buckets is clearly understood, although water and electricity don’t mix well.

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private doors

There are four stations located along the NYMR line between Pickering and Grosmont. Each station has been restored to reflect various periods in the history of the line. One of the train stations is at Goathland, which has been used as a set in various movies and TV programs. Viewers of “Heartbeat” will know the village of Goathland as Aidensfield. The doors of the Aidensfield Garage and Scripps Funeral Services are shown here. It now serves as a souvenir shop.

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the Aidensfield Garage

The Devil’s Door

Early Anglo-Saxon churches in the UK often had a north door entrance to the nave of the church. Although not considered to be significant at the time, later medieval superstitions led to the north door of a church being known as “The Devil’s Door.”

The Devil’s Door was intended to be left open during any infant baptisms in the church, so that any evil spirits could escape as the child was christened. In medieval times, the north side of the church was considered to be the “sinister” side (Latin: sinestre = left), the side where the evil spirits could hide in the shadows of the building. Following the Reformation (1530s), many of these doors were removed or blocked up.

The north side of a church yard had similar connotations, as it was sometimes used for the burial of suicides, criminals, and infants who had not been baptised.

I learned all of this while visitng Escomb Saxon Church near Bishop Auckland, England. Escomb Church is considered to be the best preserved Anglo-Saxon church in England. The following images of the church are my contribution to this week’s Thursday Doors blog, published by Norm Frampton.

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the devil’s door
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the north exterior wall
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the south entry to Escomb Saxon Church
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interior of Escomb Saxon Church